Syria: UN calls for cross-border aid, Turkey to vote on military mandate, and US still touting "wait and see"
The UN Security council passed a statement Wednesday that calls for the Syrian government to allow cross-border aid to enter the country through agreed-upon routes, according to AFP sources. The non-binding statement, drafted by Australia and Luxembourg, urges government authorities to "take immediate steps to facilitate the expansion of humanitarian relief operations, and lift bureaucratic impediments and other obstacles." According to UN officials, the Syrian government has only allowed 12 international aid groups to work in the country and their work is often hampered by numerous government and opposition checkpoints. UN members hope that passing this statement will decrease these bureaucratic obstacles accordingly. The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will report to the Security Council on progress made implementing the Security Council statement accordingly, diplomats told AFP.
In other news from Wednesday, Turkey announced that it will likely extend its current mandate that allows it to send troops into Syria for up to a year, according to Reuters. The mandate is premised on international law that obliges Turkey to take "necessary measures against any kind of action from Syria which presents an open and near threat." Turkish parliament will vote on the extension Thursday, but public opinion is largely against any bi-lateral intervention into its southern neighbor despite Turkey's ruling AK Party's support for military intervention into Syria. Turkey has previously shot down a Syrian helicopter that crossed into its air space in August, leading to tension with regime actors in Damascus.
While Turkey prepares for its vote, A US official announced that American must still "wait and see" if military intervention will be necessary in Syria, according to Reuters. If Assad fails to comply with the UN resolution outlining the removal process of Syria's chemical weapons, the US may "have to reconsider whether we use force in Syria or not," said US General Ray Odierno. At this time, the UN resolution does not include any automatic military action against Syria if it does not comply with the chemical weapon removal procedure.